In around 3300 B.C.E, the largest city in the world, Uruk, is estimated to have held around 40,000 people. The civilization of Sumer and Akkad – the source of the world’s earliest writing and the foundation for modern, urban life as we know it in the West – was made of a handful of cities roughly the size of my hometown of Morris, Illinois, or a little bigger.
Imagine the mayor as a god-king living in a palace. Or the priest from a local parish climbing a ziggurat every day to worship and propitiate the gods. Local shopkeepers are taking accounts on clay tablets, and stamping their seals on contracts.
Imagine typical small town drama, fueled by the fact that everyone knows everyone, at a momentous time in history that laid the groundwork for almost all European and Middle Eastern civilization – and at a time when “civilization” ended at the city walls.
Instrumentation – 2 fl (2nd picc), 2 ob, 2 cl, 2 bsn, 4 hn, 3 tpt in C, 2 tbn, 1 tb, 3 pc (timpani, bass drum, tambourine, Glock), hp, strings
Duration – 13 minutes